Are You a Workaholic? Here's How You'll Know

If you're always finding ways to spend extra time at the office or ignoring pleas from others to cut back on your on-the-job time, a new study shows you may officially be a workaholic.

Researchers from Norway and the United Kingdom have developed the Bergen Work Addiction Scale, a first-of-its-kind measuring stick using seven basic criteria to identify work addiction.

By testing themselves against the scale, employees can determine their degree of work addiction — not addicted, mildly addicted or workaholic — said lead researcher Cecilie Schou Andreassen from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Bergen Andreassen.

The test asks workers to use the scale's "never," "rarely," "sometimes," "often" and "always" answer system to answer seven questions about these job tendencies:

  • You think of how you can free up more time to work.
  • You spend much more time working than initially intended.
  • You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.
  • You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
  • You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
  • You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities and exercise because of your work.
  • You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

According to the study, scoring "often" or "always" on at least four of the questions suggests an employee could be a workaholic.

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In the wake of globalization, new technology and blurred boundaries between work and private life, Andreassen said there has been an increase in work addiction, which past research has shown is associated with insomnia, health problems, burnout and stress. It also creates conflict between work and family life.

The researchers developed the scale by studying more than 12,000 Norwegian employees from 25 different industries.

The study was published in a recent issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

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